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Why patient experience is becoming more important in healthcare

Healthcare has changed in recent decades with advances in technology having the biggest impact. Doctors can get results in minutes that used to take days. Innovative gadgets from CT scans to robotic surgical arms have changed treatment methods. Records are kept electronically and test results can be sent to other locations in minutes. However, despite all of the improvements, successful healthcare still comes down to how effective the medical services are in meeting patient needs which is known as patient experience. Much attention has been given to improving patient experience in recent years.

Satisfaction versus experience 

Although patient satisfaction and patient experience are similar, they are different concepts. Satisfaction is all about having expectations met in a healthcare setting while patient experience is focused on whether the care was provided properly. Since everyone has different expectations, it is hard to address satisfaction. But the patient experience can be controlled and improved making it an important part of healthcare delivery.

Open communication between doctor and patient can improve patient experience. Image used licensed by Shutterstock

Ways to improve patient experiences

A good starting point for improving patient experience is to strengthen communication. There are multiple ways to get information to a patient these days from cell phone texts to emails and video visits. Providing multiple options for communication can be an effective way to deliver a more positive patient experience.

In addition to communication, the actual message itself needs attention. Information should be delivered in language the patient comprehends. This may mean avoiding abbreviated terms like CT scan or MRI in favor of less technical language the patient can more easily comprehend. 

Doctors should also be open to providing patients with options. Instead of feeling like surgery is the only answer, patients want to understand non-surgical options, medications and other therapies that might be available. 

As with other big decisions in life, there needs to be serious discussion between patient and doctor about the best treatment option. If a doctor is typing or standing in the room looking like he wants to leave, it can be difficult for a patient to feel he is being heard. Taking the time to listen to a patient’s account of his health issue and then discussing the symptoms and treatment is an important factor in patient experience.

Finally, there needs to be a partnership between patient, doctor, hospital and all others involved in care delivery. The patient needs to see that he is a part of the medical team and be ready to do his part by following instructions, taking medications and doing what is needed to get healthy and stay healthy. 

Patient experience should be the priority for any healthcare provider. Image licensed by Shutterstock

The value of an effective patient experience

When a patient receives quality health care delivery with effective communication, access to information, and compassionate care, there is a sense of engagement that could improve outcomes. The Agency for Healthcare Research reports the improved patient experience at a medical center in Georgia brought about a 62 percent decrease in medication errors, a decrease in length of stay of by 50 percent and a 40% decrease in falls. 

Finding a place where patient experience is a priority

When medical care is needed after surgery, illness or a hospital stay, patient experience should be an important factor in the choice. Whitehall of Deerfield on the North Shore has earned a solid reputation for providing an effective patient experience. The well-respected center has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and post-hospital rehabilitation centers. Whitehall of Deerfield has also once again been named to Newsweek magazine’s 2022 list of best post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois. In addition, Whitehall has continued to receive U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Performing” rating.  For a patient experience that has been rated as one of the best, choose Whitehall of Deerfield.

Since 1973, Whitehall of Deerfield has pioneered luxury healthcare in Chicago’s North Shore. With its lavish woodwork crafted by hand, museum-quality paintings, solariums, spacious rooms and suites, concierge service, valet parking, gourmet coffees and a stunning array of world-class amenities, Whitehall of Deerfield proves it is possible to combine luxury with superb nursing care. With therapy up to seven days a week, an experienced professional staff and a host of on-site services, a positive patient experience is delivered to all. Learn more about the  world-class amenities and COVID-19 safety measures by visiting WhitehallofDeerfield.com.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600